Today, I'm talking about something that I bet a lot of you have experienced but you're wondering just how to deal with it. And that is the tennis etiquette surrounding sore losers and gloaty winners.
What are Sore Losers and Gloaty Winners?
I am sure we have all experienced these types of players. Sore losers, those who are upset when they lose a point or lose a match. And they often will give you a long list of excuses as to why they are playing poorly and why they have lost that point or that match.
And I'll bet many of you have also had to deal with what I call gloaty winners. Those people who are blatantly excited, not just about winning, but winning at your expenses. These are the people who fist pump when you make an error. They have some comment to sort of self-congratulate themselves when you screw up. And they are very self-congratulatory at the end of a match when they win.
These Players Take Away from What You're Doing on Court
If you're anything like me, then the experience of dealing with sore losers and gloaty winners is particularly unpleasant, not just because it's poor form in my opinion. But their reactions somehow take away from what you're doing on court. When you have a sore loser who has a list of excuses as to why they've lost a point or lost a match, it's like they're taking away from what you've done. It's as if they're saying, “Oh, you're not a good player. It's just that I have a lot of reasons I didn't play my best game today.”
And the same with the gloaty winners. When someone is gloating, and that's the best word that I can think of for it, over their win, it somehow is not just that they are excited about what they've done. But it's implying that you have played poorly and somehow your tennis skills are not up to their level.
Don't Be One of These Players!
So, I'm hoping that you out there, my Tennis Quick Tips listeners, are not these people. And maybe if you recognize yourself in those descriptions, you'll realize that that's really not the best way to play the game. I think we should all try to be graceful winners and graceful losers too. We don't need to detract from what our opponents are doing on court by giving a list of excuses as to why we're playing poorly. Or by going on and on in a self-congratulatory way about how we kicked our opponent's butt.
But there are people like this and if you have faced them on court, I'm sure there have been you've wondered how to do you deal with this. How to you cut it off? What can you say to put an end to this behavior?
Their Conduct Says More About Their Psychological Condition Than About Your Tennis Skills
Here's what I'll tell you about these types of players. Sore losers and gloaty winners, their conduct says much more about their own psychological issues than about your game or your tennis skills. So I think you need to realize that and appreciate it and not let those players get to you with their comments or their on-court antics. I know if can be difficult because I have faced these types of people myself. But the fact is, you have to keep in mind that what they're doing is saying more about themselves than about you.
As you know, as I always say, you can play your best tennis ever and still lose the match. You can play your worst tennis ever and win a match. So, someone's reaction to the winning and the losing says more about their psychological issues than the status of your game at that particular moment.
Shut It Down – Let It Go
How do you deal with these players? What can you do to shut this type of behavior down?
I'm sorry to tell you that there's just not a lot you can do except be aware of it and let it go. Don't let it get to you. Don't let their psychological problems start giving you psychological problems. Just let it go.
Be the graceful winner in the face of a sore loser. Be the graceful loser in the fact of a gloaty winner. Because most of these people, they don't care about how they're behaving on court and there is no cutting remark that you can make that will change the way that they deal with what is happening.
I know that's hard to accept. I know that you're listening because you want to know how to deal with sore losers and gloaty winners. But what I'm telling you is that the best way to deal with these players is to realize what is happening and don't let it get to you. Let them work out whatever psychological issues they have with their remarks and antics and don't let it become something that they can use to impact what you're able to do on court. If it's happening during a match, let it go. Keep playing. Don't worry about it. And if it happens after a match, certainly let it go and don't worry about it. It should not be something that you let get to you.
You May Need to Move on From These Players
One final thing I would say about these types of players. We do face these people when we play league tennis and usually when you're playing league and you come up against these players, it's easy to move on because you know you're not going to fact those people on a constant basis. You might face these players again in a future match but it's not like you see them week after week.
However, if you are playing with someone like this on a regular basis, I would say this may be the time to distance yourself from that player. And if you believe that what I'm describing may be you, just know, if you are the sore loser or the gloaty winner, people do not enjoy playing with that type of player and you may find yourself being invited to play less and less. So be self-aware. Know what you're actions, what impact those are having on other people. And if you want to keep being invited to play fun tennis, you need to get rid of the sore loser excuses or the gloaty winner fist pumps and other actions.
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